What is the Lord's Resistance Army?
Members of the Lord's Resistance Army stand guard in November 2008.
October 14th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

What is the Lord's Resistance Army?

The Lord's Resistance Army, formed in the late 1980s, is a sectarian military and religious group that operates in northern Uganda and South Sudan. It has committed numerous abuses and atrocities such as abducting, raping, maiming and killing civilians, including women and children, according to globalsecurity.org. Its members are known for hacking off the lips and ears of their victims, looting villages and burning huts, and stealing clothes and medicine from the communities they terrorize, CNN has reported.

On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that he is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the group's leaders.

The Lord's Resistance Army has sought to overthrow the Ugandan government and has contributed to instability across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

It is led by Joseph Kony, who professes to have spiritual powers. He is often "underrated" as a leader, according to a 2011 Jane's report on the group. Kony has claimed to be possessed by spirits who dictate the group's strategy. Jane's notes that the tactic has served him well, enabling him to speak to followers who have mixed beliefs. By portraying himself as a medium with supernatural abilities, his authority becomes harder to question within the ranks.

U.S. military personnel will advise regional forces working to target Kony and other senior leaders. The president said the troops will not engage Kony's forces "unless necessary for self-defense."

The Lord's Resistance Army is sophisticated and less like the ragtag group of fighters it is sometimes portrayed as, Jane's says. It has benefited from the military experience of former Ugandan military officers and years of combat in Sudan.

International aid convoys and non-government organizations operating in the region have been threatened by the Lord's Resistance Army, according to numerous reports. Human Rights Watch, in a letter released in May, urged the U.S. government to step up its effort to protect people from the group.

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Filed under: Africa • Democratic Republic of Congo • South Sudan • Uganda • World
soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. t petrock

    what about the gangs out here??? Take them out.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joebobcat

    Ahh, religious faith...

    October 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave in Ohio

      Religious faith? Anything but! This monster is only claiming religious righteousness in order to control his group of thugs. Religion has nothing to do with it!

      October 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Morgana

      DaveinOhio, there’s a lot of irony in your argument. A lot.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnbrownraider

      I agree down with relgion.....Damn Christians raping and killing over there

      October 15, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. collins61

    Well, if we were to follow that idea, it would only be fair to arm and train the people who suffer under these thugs. Then we could at least even the table and let the better thug win. All in favor?

    October 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why?


      October 15, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • johnbrownraider

      Isn't that what we been doing that why we armed the cocaine smugglers, shower posses, Taliban, Al qaeda, and various other movements that call for our destruction now....I guess you didn't learn much from history b/c that has been our strategy and it hasn't worked.

      October 15, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      A good portion of his troops are underaged children. So, no we don't want to be training them to fight anymore.

      October 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. koolkat

    Kony reminds me of Phillip and his stupid nazi rants.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. josh

    We need to stop fighting the wars of others. Mr Obama, you are a shameful, lying man, who has done nothing but constantly lead us to more fights. I am ashamed to be an American today. Obama and George Bush – are they really two different people?

    October 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      President Obama inherited 2 wars. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan had huge republican support right after 9/11. Huge sums were poured into both areas. When you are in those places getting out is not a simple matter of sending the troops home. Add those numbers to the current unemployed and we would be in even worse shape. I remember when Americans were demanding the government do something about Qadfi. Now we are and nobody is happy. Many aid and humanitarian groups are asking for our help, I have no doubt if this lasts very long the U.S. will again be vilified. We are for the most part coming out of Iraq. None of these things please anyone except the manufactures of weapons of war and supplies.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ItTakes GreatLeadership

      Josh, it takes a REAL PRESIDENT, like President Obama, to fight for and protect those whose governments do not step up to the plate to protect them. That is showing real leadership from a world leader with great compassion for humanity! God Bless him for that! The do-nothing-remain complacent-uncaring, fastidious-good for nothing Republicans would wait for a cold day in hell before they would lift their rich, wealthy manicured hands to go and fight for others. That is why they are all going to lose in 2012! It takes a real president to offer defense unto others as the leader of the world's most compassionate humanitarian nation!

      October 15, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Get Out

      Hey Josh, if you are that ashamed to be an American, Get The Hell Out Now!! And don't let the door hit you in the ass as you leave! You are not needed in this country you poor excuse for an American, so LEAVE already! Go!!

      October 15, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Stuart

    Plus since they are all zulu cannibals they would love they hippy pothead protesters. They could boil them up with some potatos and have a cookout. Maybe obamo sould ship them some malt liquor and menthol cigarettes.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marine5484

      Wow you really don't stand for anything do you except for your own self interest. The country of Uganda has been asking for our assistance for years to help capture or kill the sociopath that has wiped out village after village.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sigh

      The Zulus do not practice Cannabalism, and the They are not Zulu in the first place. The Zulus live in the Southern Part of Africa this is North Africa. Your ignorance is astounding, your stupidity not so much.

      October 15, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Coleen

    Millions of Americans have written to the president, congressmen, and senators asking them to do something about this issue. In May of 2010, Congress passed the LRA Disarmament Bill (passed by both Democrats and Republicans), giving Obama 6 months to come up with a plan to stop the LRA and Joseph Kony. In November of 2010, Obama released his strategy. Additionally, the budget that was passed this past spring included a provision setting aside funding to stop the situation in Central Africa. So people blaming Obama for this are sorely mistaken. He would not have been able to order 100 (badly needed) troops to Uganda without the support of both the Senate and House. Both Republicans and Democrats support this move. If you cared at all about humanity, you would support this measure too. Joseph Kony is a monster and has to be stopped. He has been abducting innocent children and forcing them to be soldiers for 25+ years just so he can overthrow the relatively stable government headed by Museveni in Southern Uganda. What if you had to send your children to a town miles away EVERY NIGHT to sleep under a hospital's veranda, just so the LRA won't come in the night and abduct them? Because that's what happened for years. Children in Uganda would walk to the town of Gulu to sleep in the rain and cold because the hospital was the only safe place for them. Thanks to Invisible Children, people know about this now and the night commutes have stopped, but Joseph Kony and the LRA have now retreated into Central Africa spreading terror there. This man IS a monster. And it's really great that some of the first steps are being taken to really and truly stop him. Hopefully, other nations will contribute resources now that the United States has taken the first step. To those of you condemning Obama (and really, Congress, because they supported this too), think about how you would feel if your child was abducted in the night and forced to be a soldier. That is, assuming your child even became a soldier, because many are killed. To everyone who is making this an issue between Republicans and Democrats, you are sadly misinformed. Both parties passed the LRA Disarmament Bill in May of 2010 giving Obama 6 months to come up with a strategy, which he did last November. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed to support a provision in this year’s budget allocating resources to end this conflict. It sounds like Obama is putting his plan into action; a plan that was supported by both of countries parties. So please, before you make any more horrible comments about something you don’t understand, PLEASE check out invisiblechildren.com or theresolve.org to educate yourself about this serious issue. If you care about humanity, you will.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name

      IFF everything you say is true, why waste the time and effort... (thanks Jerry, you colossal schmuck) Why not just send in Seal Team 7 *(6 is on leave...) and shoot this motherfather right in the head. Much quicker, cheaper, and if it's done right, less risk to our forces. In instances where you have, allegedly, a single principle bad-guy, and he's THAT bad, just kill the sockcucker.

      October 15, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. zulu otambwa

    Me likes white man stew. Berry berry guuud.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    Why even try to attempt to control of even influence these uncontrollable monkies?
    Let Darwin take its course. Let's worry about providing jobs for Americans.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan

    Given what America has been doing with programs like fast and furious, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if there are US stamps on those weapons they have.

    October 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. zulu otambwa

    I bet Coleen would taste good roasted with barbecue sauce. Us africans always like to invite us some white peoples to dinner. mmmmmmm roasted white meat.

    October 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      Actually cannibalism never existed in Africa, unlike the media of the past would have you believe. How old are you?

      October 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alicia

    Here we go again. Sending Americans to a third world dung heap to be slaughtered. And we know how third world people appreciate our help

    October 14, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    Good I hope they assassinate this ratard

    October 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • truthspeaks

      So Brain are you a war hawk? the way you replied it sounds like it.America is in already 3 to 4 wars now WARS isnt what the people need now. Obama so much for been the man who won the noble peace prize, what a joke.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dandy

    "Lord's Resistance Army" ??? So they have a group of Christian Terrorists there... oh my, does this mean that my next door neighbor, who is a follower of the "Lord", also a terrorist?? He does look a little funny now and then. And he talks with other Christians and goes to a Christian church...... oh no...... 😉
    Extremists are bad news – I don't care whether they are Right wing Evangelical Christians wingnuts or Right wing Muslims, they are all cut from the same piece of cloth.

    October 14, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ari

      it's no more christian than muslims or mormons are christian. the guy–joseph kony–believes that jesus was a prophet, but that he himself is an even GREATER prophet.

      October 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnbrownraider

      Yep they are Christians....I say get rid of your neighbor....

      October 15, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. ari

    according to a study from 2009, 91% of the group's members are current or former abducted children forced to fight. this is truly a case of "take out the man, take out the army". joseph kony needs to be killed.

    October 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
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